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UFC 249 results: Justin Gaethje scores standing TKO on Tony Ferguson, wins interim title

Justin Gaethje just stopped Tony Ferguson with strikes in the fifth round to capture the vacant interim lightweight title in the UFC 249 main event.

The top of the UFC 249 billing involved a vacant lightweight interim title fight between the former champ, Tony Ferguson, and the promotion’s #4 ranked 155-pounder, Justin Gaethje. A potent mixture of leg kicks and power punching was the key in Gaethje dishing out a ton of calculated punishment that accumulated into a fifth round finish over Ferguson, who came in on a 12-fight winning streak. Gaethje will likely get scheduled to face the champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, to unify the belts. Since it’s not Tony taking on Khabib, it’ll probably happen.

Gaethje made an early home in the center of the cage to start the match. He found success landing counter punches as Ferguson looked to close the distance. Ferguson gave a lot of funky looks, but struggled to build on any offense. Gaethje landed some heavy left hooks at the end of the round, but Ferguson ate them like a boss.

The counter power punches of Gaethje continue to score in the seocnd act. Ferguson was getting tagged when he would overextend and get out of position, but seemed to be absorbing the blows without issue. Ferguson started to land more volume towards the end of the round, and dropped Gaethje with an uppercut right at the bell.

Ferguson pushed the pace in the third act. He moved forward behind is janky movement, scoring with some variety. Gaethje returned fire with his counter punching, busting up the face of Ferguson. Then, a big right hand wobbled Ferguson. Gaethje kept landing bombs but Ferguson just kept eating them. Ferguson scooped up some imaginary sand and threw it at Gaethje in a superb display of weirdness.

Ferguson tried to present several different looks in the fourth round, but kept struggling with the counter punching and leg kicks of Gaethje. Around the midpoint of the round, Gaethje rocked Ferguson with a massive right hand. The former champ recovered, and accidentally landed a cup kick. Gaethje didn’t use up much time to recover, not wanting to give his opponent time to recover.

Gaethje continued to dish out damage in the final frame. He was still brutalizing his opponent’s leg and landing powerful punching combinations. Gaethje remained composed and calculated when he had his foe hurt, conserving his energy and not leaving himself exposed to counters. The punishment started to add up and Ferguson was visibly hurt, trying to shake it off. The referee had seen enough and stepped in to rescue the dazed fighter.

Justin Gaethje def. Tony Ferguson by TKO at 3:39 of round 5: Interim Lightweight Title